In a new series, Jon Rogers and Richard Jeffery debate the current situation at The Carra. Alex Neil is showing cracks but he is a tough ol' nut to crack. Should we stick or twist? Stay or go? Please welcome our first ever two and fro.
Jon: So... What do you do with a problem like Neil? I'm not one to jump too soon - you've seen me with a skipping rope - but I think we need a change. Shall I give you my three pronged attack?
Rich: Yes. Ooer, sounds a bit racy.
Jon: I'm gonna do it...WITHOUT mentioning the run of loses too.
1) I think we're slow to attack. AN likes to pass and move pass and move...and it’s always a bit Snodgrassy.
2) Not one of the £10-12m worth of signings started on Saturday - or have made ANY sort of impact verses some average Championship sides. Either bad choices, OR...he can’t get the best out of them...
3) I've heard he smells....
Rich: 1) Yes, but we weren't at the beginning of the season. We have pace in the squad, but we seem to have lost our way. I think that our defensive woes, have resulted in our midfield sitting deeper and playing safe, which has compounded that. We miss Jonny big time, as he's our only real box-to-box midfielder. I think AN's on his last legs as a manager so, if I were him I'd think 'fuck it, let’s attack our way out of this'. Nothing to lose right now.
2) The transfer business goes to the heart of this. I don't buy that we have one of the best squads in the division. We have one or two of the best players, but for 6 or more transfer windows we've failed to strengthen our defence. With Klose not selected, and when Olsson is available we're paying the same defence that has creaked for several seasons. That's not entirely AN’s fault, but goes to the heart of the issue. The club, even under McNally, failed to sort this out. They can say, 'oh but we spent more than we ever have’, but they've failed to address our major failing, the defence. Also to have no like-for-like back up for Howson is poor planning. AN most certainly isn't getting the best out of them, You could in fact say the reverse and that Brady & Klose to name two have got noticeably worse under his coaching. And where's the Pritchard who ran the game for Brentford against us two seasons ago?
3) He does, I've been up close and personal twice. But he smells nice. Clean, fresh, he obviously has a good personal hygiene routine locked down.
Jon: Oliveira is the one for me. We had a year, a whole year to choose a striker. All of Jan, and all of the summer. We had the cash. £12m on Ross 'Bullet Dodged' McCormack and the best we can do is Oliveira. We needed a Grabbanesque player. Small, nippy in behind channel runner. Why not look in League 1 for the best? We aren’t a Premier League team anymore so looking below for the next big thing works. Gayle, Assombalonga, Wells. All came from lower leagues.
Rich: Agree on Oliveira, he seemed to be a ‘Oh well he’ll do’ choice a kind of 10 to 2 girl/boy. He doesn’t, as yet (though he’s not had much of a chance), seem to offer us anything different as you allude to. Which goes back to the point about us being predictable. We’re in serious danger of blowing our opportunity due to our muddled transfer policy/lack of planning. Our policy of buying young promising players is a good one, but alongside that you need to have a coherent policy to add senior players who can come in and have an immediate effect. Who of our recent signings has done that?
Jon: Where do we go from here then? What IS the next step for the board? This weekend, someone obviously really important dropped out of that show to concentrate on the task ahead at Norwich, do you think Honey G will make a difference?
Rich: We need a change. We haven't played really well all season and have looked vulnerable in defence. We've been well and truly found out in the way we play. When decent organised teams, like Preston, beat us and we show no signs of being able to change system or shape in a game, and then what has followed against better teams, well it’s damning. You can't lose 5 in a row. I don’t think the board will act, but if we lose to Brentford, it could get ugly at FCR.
We have an advantage over most teams this and next season, with the parachute money. If we don’t make that advantage count, we will find ourselves below more and more teams with parachute money and more and more teams who have been taken over and had money pumped in. We don’t have to look far down the road to see where that could lead. Perpetual lower half of the championship and maybe another trip to the division below.
Will the board act? Hmmmmm. On the plus side, Honey G would be great at the Christmas do. I say great, I mean awful, and she’d come across a bit xenophobic so…
Jon: When you say Alex you say Neil…Alex. *SILENCE*
That's my issue. Alex Neil is the same age as me. He has young family. This is the first time where results have turned against him...AND the fans. If we go 1-0 down in the 5th minute with a lucky goal or a set piece, Carrow Road will actually disintegrate. I don’t think the board should let him go through with that. The risky chance of going through that shit storm. Shake his hand. Thank him. He gave me the greatest day of my life since I saw Taylor Swift do a slut drop at One Big Weekend (which was the day before.so wasn't that long). PLEASE don’t let me throw my clapper in his face with the word BOOO drawn in Galway Roast coffee beans...
Rich: He just seems lost to me. I think most of the media have been fair, and hitting out at those he perceives haven't, or he thinks have an agenda, whether they have or not, shows he's rattled. He should have risen above it. Galway Roast coffee was poop anyway. Good riddance. Stick to Guinness Ireland!
Jon: He should. Although, I do believe him there are some hitting the certain notes for RTs and Likes...
Rich: I think that's true, but then that's the job of certain people in the media. There's a place for it too. He has to live with that and the effect social media has.
Jon: So what happens if we win? With the most unconvincing performance - a crappy 1-0 in the 75 mins. Scramble at a corner…an own goal. They are down to 9 men since the 4th minute, MotM is Ruddy. What happens then Rich!!!?
Rich: He stays. If we'd continued to play below our best but kept winning, the problems would still be there but the level of scrutiny would be much less. It's a results based business Brian. I feel it would be delaying the inevitable. We need to change in good time for January if we're going to.
I am so uninterested at the moment in the football though. Apathy has taken over me. Ennui in the upper Barclay. Mainly because I can't see the leadership at the club that's required.
I'd take that win by the way. Unlike some I'd never want to see us lose a game.
Jon: It’s gonna be Moxey's first window. First managerial appointment (if he goes) The Years of Mox. Moxeyear.
Rich: A lot of people have pre-judged the Mox in the Box on what Wolfs fans said about him. They may be right, let's see. He might surprise us. If I was called Jeremy, I'd defo shorten it to Jez, or ask to be called Dave.
Jon: My Mum's called Jeremy.
Rich: She told me her name was Greg. Worth noting that Mox appointed Terry Connor after sacking Big Mick, so that turned out great. No doubt after scouring Europe. But who knows?
Jon: Call it then. Will AN be manager this time next week?
Rich: Yes. He will. I fear we'll limp on. Should he? No, in my opinion. I fervently hope we hump Brentford and go on a ten game winning streak and we can all laugh at how pessimistic we've all been. But I can't see it, smells like the end to me.
We're in that time where whatever AN, or the player who does the post-match interview says, people pick what they want to hear out of it. The level of outrage at Bassong's interview after the Derby game was daft. What do people expect him to say? 'Yes Chris, we're shit and we all hate the manager.'?
Jon: It would make the people who say...I SAY IT LIKE IT IS...so happy and so sad at the same time, they might explode.
Rich: NMTD Jon.